Inbox Insider: Holiday e-mails must be giving

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It is still a bit early to tell how consumers will spend their money this holiday season, especially after consumer confidence dipped in September after a slight uptick in August gave retailers a false bit of optimism. Yet one thing is for sure: most consumers have tighter budgets and they are looking for better deals and better value. With retailers challenged with sending relevant and targeted messaging this season, search and e-mail will be two of the main drivers, according to a new report by Experian.

Offering a little gift to consumers purchasing presents may be a way to get some attention. Experian Marketing Services' new report, The 2009 Holiday Marketer: Benchmark and Trend Report, found that one of the best ways to use e-mail this holiday season is by giving something away. The report found that almost 70% of holiday e-mails sent last year mentioned free shipping or discounted offers — such as dollar amounts or percentage discounts off the total. Interestingly, free shipping coupled with a percentage-off discount saw the highest transaction rates in the report, averaging 0.14% of e-mail sent. Conversion rates were higher for e-mails mentioning an offer as opposed to those that did not.

Another idea is to add ratings and reviews to e-mails. According to the Experian report, Bath & Body Works last year worked with Experian CheetahMail and Bazaarvoice to incorporate ratings and reviews data into their holiday e-mail campaigns. The campaign saw average order values increase by 10% compared to its average e-mail marketing. Sales per visitor went up 11.5%.

As marketers prepare for the holiday e-mail push, considering tricks like this will help you stand out during what will surely be a busy inbox season.

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